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Workin' at the Car Wash

Posted by Stanley
on 10.06.12

I totally forgot about something that happened last weekend about which I meant to blog. Sorry, guys. I won't let it happen again.

In any event, I was going to say: the great thing about doing a charity car wash—specifically, doing the job where you stand out on the corner with a bright orange sign, alerting people to the presence of said car wash—is that eventually, two guys will drive by (Massachusetts plates, natch) and yell, "FUCK YOU, MAN!"

I was speechless. After all, they were advancing a very compelling argument.


 

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Polling sites

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.05.12

ElectoralVote is still my favorite of the polling sites. Something about his super-robotic delivery of talking points always cracks me up.


 

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I am opposed to this proposal

Posted by Ben
on 10.04.12

Some damn busybody down at City Hall wants to force the naked dudes at 17th and Castro to put some clothes on. Bah! I think the naked guys are great! Just the other day I biked passed some naked guys who were also on bikes and weren't in the Castro—a little out of context but whatever! I am sincerely heartened by the sight of the naked dudes hanging around like it ain't no thang. Even the ones with rings and whatnot aren't being actively lewd about it.

The only option a fed-up resident has is to file a citizen's complaint and testify in court that they were personally offended by the nudity, which Wiener said never happens.

On the other hand, I recognize that this is a nontrivial procedural barrier, but on the other hand, sounds like it can't be that much of a problem!

I will pass over in respectful silence the last name of the relevant supervisor.


 

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The gift that keeps on giving.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.04.12

Akin understands how character defects can become systemic problems. From 2008:

"You find that along with the culture of death go all kinds of other law-breaking: not following good sanitary procedure, giving abortions to women who are not actually pregnant, cheating on taxes, all these kinds of things," Akin said.

Via Jammies


 

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Defensiveness About Racism

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.04.12

The other day, I complained about some students here. It's not that I don't realize students are racist, but I couldn't function if I didn't ignore it most of the time, and this was super flagrant.

One or two were overtly racist, but most of them were racist-via-oversimplification. Mostly they were obsessed with the fact that black people can be racist, too. Which is true, but oh my god so irrelevant to the destruction that our incarceration system is having on minority communities.

What I've been turning over in my head is this: they read the excerpt as a personal attack, and responded with defensiveness. I'm lead to believe that dealing with racism (in a classroom) needs to start with addressing this defensiveness. I'm picturing a conversation about how you're about to get a description of the current state of racism, and no one is saying that you've done anything wrong, but you were born into a world with problems, and let's describe this problem.

It's only once you've got a consensus that a problem exists that you can start dipping into individual culpability, or at the minimum ways that white students have benefited from being white. For the record, this class was probably 2/3 white, 1/3 Hispanic, and I think one Asian student.


 

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Plus Ça Change, Plus C'est La Même Chose

Posted by LizardBreath
on 10.04.12

It appears that the first person of European ancestry to live in what is now New York was a mixed race guy from the D.R. named Juan Rodriguez. My neighborhood is pleased, but unsurprised.


 

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Debate thread

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.03.12

What time does this thing start, anyway?


 

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Time pieces

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.03.12

I'm all for art-for-art's-sake and non-application-based science, but I'm also having trouble understanding of why exactly it's cool to build a clock that will run for 10,000 years. Wouldn't a sundial be easier?


 

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Spicy

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.03.12

My mom maintains "Kids in India grow up eating spicy foods. Since that's all that's around, they're just used to it," and more or less implies that while it's fine that we pamper our kids, we should call a spade a spade - by saving the crushed red pepper out of the recipe, to be added individually at the table, we are pampering them.

On the one hand, yes yes, I don't want to be culturally myopic. On the other hand, is this really true? There aren't milder versions that very small kids are eating, or the parents are giving them more potatoes and less sauce, or something? It just seems so very biological that little kids have big, raw taste buds and chemically burning your tongue doesn't feel good until you're a little dead inside.


 

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Teaching Manual Skills

Posted by LizardBreath
on 10.02.12

I spent last Saturday teaching crochet at Maker Faire, and it's interesting how bad perfectly normal adults are at following manual directions. Crochet is really very simple -- (1) look at the piece of fabric you're working on -- the top edge will have what looks like a row of 'v's on it. Each 'v' is a stitch. (2) Hold the yarn coming from the ball in your left hand, and the hook (which already has a loop of yarn around it) in your right. (3) Insert the hook under the next stitch. (4) Wrap the yarn around the hook coming over the top of the hook from behind. (5) Use the hook to pull the wrapped yarn through under the stitch. Now you have two loops of yarn around the hook. (6) Wrap the yarn around the hook again, just like you did before, and pull it through the two loops on the hook. (7) You've finished one stitch, and you have one loop of yarn around the hook, ready to start the next stitch. Repeat the first six steps.

Most adults can't follow those directions, even after seeing them demonstrated a couple of times. Teaching them is more like animal training -- after you try to explain what to do a couple of times, you just have to hand them the hook and watch them flail randomly, watching like a hawk for the moment they accidentally do something right that you can praise: "Yes! Right! Just like that!" Eventually, they put together enough accidental right moves that they're doing everything right, and then they know how, but following the instructions wasn't a large part of it. Some people can follow instructions, and it's glaringly different -- you tell them to do something, they do what you told them, and there's nothing more for them to learn, other than the next more complicated stitch.

I'm not sure what the difference is between people who can be told how to do something complicated and people who have to be trained like you'd train a dog to do tricks. The first kind is IME much rarer than the second, and it doesn't seem obviously to be about general intelligence or how attentive they're being. It might be about having pre-existing manual skills: my best direction-follower was a retired art teacher, and I figure using her hands to draw and paint might have given her more control over what she does with them.

Anyone else have much experience teaching manual skills? What has it been like for you?


 

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Sleep in, cook, read in a patch of sunshine...

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.02.12

What would you do if you could go on sabbatical? ...or perhaps, what would you say you were going to do, in your sabbatical application?


 

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The boob tube, hooray!

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.01.12

We watched the pilot episode of The Mindy Kaling Project last night, and I liked it. I'm glad - I was rooting for her.


 

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Orange post title!

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.01.12

Sir Kraab writes: Let's buy Colton a car! Or help him pay for a scooter!

This summer, Thorn gave an update on Colton:

Colton, who decided against leaving his home state and being adopted by us . . . was supposed to start community college this fall. Except when he and I talked about this yesterday I found out that he's not going to be able to start until he can buy a car and I believe the only job he's found has been part-time something at a nursing home.
I don't have the financial resources to help him and there's not much I can do with advice either because it just sucks. He seems to accept the situation as just how things are, but blech. He was so proud of himself for graduating and so excited about college and now he's not even sure if he'll be able to start by spring.

I've told Thorn I want to give Colton some money to help him buy a car or scooter and I'm soliciting the Mineshaft to do the same.

There are endless good causes, but I'd love it if we could help Colton out because we're connected to him (however hard that might be to explain to normal people) and because not having transportation is exactly the sort of stupid barrier that shouldn't stop someone like Colton in his tracks.

Thorn talked to Colton about it: "He was blown away that people would care about him. He's apparently really regretting not going through with the adoption and sees us as his really family that cares about him, when his own family didn't even respond to the news that he'd graduated. Poor kid.

"As I expected, he said he doesn't like to take things from people and would have to make sure you really knew what you were doing if you wanted to give him money, but he's trying to make his life better and can't wait to start school so he would do it. He doesn't really want to stay at the group home with a bunch of younger boys but isn't sure what to do or where to go if he leaves... Ugh, I'm so sad for him and angry at the system in general, though I shouldn't be since it got him into a safe and stable foster home and connected him with us and he had better supports than most kids in his situation do. I guess that's the sad part, that even with a "better" outcome you still end up in tragedy."

E-mail me at mypseud geemail if you want to chip in, [Ed: remember that's Sir Kraab talking, although if you email me it will get to her.] No amount too small! If you find $5, that pays for 1/20th of a helmet.


 

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Corroborating Evidence

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.01.12

I was reading the other day about how the salience of a visual image causes people to make emotionally-based decisions. If women's brains were "known" to be visual and men's brains were "known" to be better at languages, all the news articles would be drawing the conclusion that this explains so much about why women are the emotional centers within a relationship.

(I remember reading If Men Could Menstruate my first semester at college and finding it eye-opening. Not because it launched a feminist Heebie but because it cracked open a rather misogynistic Heebie's eyes slightly to the world's complications.)


 

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